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Severn Valley Railway provides inspiration for layout by Market Deeping Model Railway chairman

Hello again! In between many other domestic jobs (and my self-imposed list seems endless), I’ve tried to continue working on my own model railway whenever I can, writes Market Deeping Model Railway chairman Peter Davies.

I explained last month some of what has been necessary to get many of our donated locos working again. Unfortunately, that largely stopped work on my own layout, started some 40 years ago and, I suspect, will never be finished!

My father’s family came from Bridgnorth in Shropshire. I spent many childhood holidays with my great aunt and uncle in their house on Granary Steps, over the (then) railway tunnel and visiting my great grandmother whose house on Hollybush Road looked up at the station. For almost 50 years, my wife and I have been members of the Severn Valley Railway and remain amazed by all that those directly involved in that superb heritage line have managed to achieve. Very sadly, we visit it all too rarely.

Peter Davies' layout of the Severn Valley Railway
Peter Davies' layout of the Severn Valley Railway

I digress! It should be no surprise that my layout is based around the Severn Valley Railway. Track plans are close to those of the “real” railway. Space available dictates that stations are truncated, curved or missing some sidings. Scenics, too, must be different from the “real thing”. Capturing in model form the beauty of the Severn Valley, with its expansive woodland around the railway, the views across fields to the river, Bridgnorth Castle and Pan Pudding Hill (let alone the delights of Bewdley or Kidderminster and intermediate stations) would take up both more space and time than ever I could manage.

Compromises had to be made. Models can be accurate to the last detail, be compromises or built purely from the imagination. My layout is a combination of all three! The picture shows the second stage build of my version of Granary Steps in Bridgnorth. It has the “wrong” church (it should be the red sandstone of St Leonards), “wrong” buildings (they are not thatched cottages in real life) and the step formations are not the same and it isn’t on a cliff edge either! Built on a metal wire frame, supported by pieces of wood and polystyrene packaging, covered in Plaster of Paris bandage, painted, it has cost very little other than time. I’ve had the models for many years. It is far from finished. And, adding insult to injury as it were, where it sits on my layout is where Pan Pudding Hill is in real life. The joy of railway modelling is that scenes can be incorporated that “fit”. They do not have to be either accurate or accurately placed. It all fits where the modeller decides.

Once finished, it will look quite different with handrails, brick walls, gardens, shrubbery, street lights and people all to be added. Will I be adding the chimney stack for the now, long gone, carpet factory? No, well, may be……!

On the club front, at the recent AGM, members voted that three men (Brian Norris, David Booth and Peter Davies) were to be awarded memorial shields for services to the club this last year.

It was also a delight to be able to report progress on new premises. In design stage at present, it is hope that construction will start fairly soon. We are indebted to our new landlord for his and his company’s generosity in making space available. It is a big project for us, made possible by your generosity. We want to reflect that and ensure you can be welcomed to see many of the beautiful models we were donated. These are exciting times, despite ‘lockdown’!

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